The A47 is the main east west connection in northern East Anglia. It links Great Yarmouth in the east with Norwich, King’s Lynn and Peterborough to the A1. The A1 provides onward connections to the Midlands and north of England. At Yarmouth and Norwich connections to Europe and beyond are available via the port and airport. At Great Yarmouth the trunk road continues south, as the A12, to Lowestoft. This route passes through the highway authority areas of Peterborough, Cambridgeshire, Norfolk and Suffolk; and the planning authority areas of Fenland, King’s Lynn and West Norfolk, Breckland, Broadland, South Norfolk, Great Yarmouth and Waveney.
Norwich is the largest economy in East Anglia with the Greater Norwich sub-region the key driver of economic growth across a large part of Norfolk and Suffolk. Greater Norwich has key strengths in the financial services, business services, creative industries, health and life sciences and engineering sectors. Because of its position as a large free-standing city it attracts large commuting in-flows from the surrounding, largely rural travel to work catchment. Greater Norwich has a thriving retail sector, worth £1.17billion in 2009, the highest retail value in the East of England. It is a UK top ten shopping centre and a destination for people living as far as 80 miles away.
Great Yarmouth is Norfolk’s second largest settlement, with a population of around 75,000. It is England’s energy port, and recognised as one of the government’s new Centres for Offshore Renewable Engineering. Parts of Lowestoft and Great Yarmouth have been designated as Enterprise Zones.
King’s Lynn is a key sub-regional centre; unlike Great Yarmouth, which is relatively close to Norwich, King’s Lynn tends to operate as a discrete centre in its own right, providing services to a very large catchment of people and businesses.
Wisbech is sited on the border of Norfolk and Cambridgeshire. It is a historic market town and with a population of around 20,500 is the largest settlement in Fenland. It is an important destination for comparison retail and services for the surrounding rural communities. Key sources of employment include food processing industries and manufacturing, logistics and storage.
Peterborough has a population of 183,600 and is the urban centre of a much wider economic geography. The city’s location means its economy is well-placed to benefit from significant links to other major conurbations.
The A47 is part of the Trans-European Network and designated by the British government as a trunk road. However, the poor quality and unreliability of parts of the route means it does not function as the ‘gateway to growth’ it should be.
Responsibility for maintaining and improving the road rests with the Highways Agency, an Executive Agency of the Department for Transport responsible for oper-ating, maintaining and improving the strategic road network in England on behalf of the Secretary of State for Transport.